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Loney Dear

Swedish singer-songwriter Emil Svanängen, better known as Loney Dear, had best start shopping now for a new, sturdy suitcase. He’s going to be on the road from mid January to early April for his upcoming tour with Of Montreal.

All the better to promote his latest album.

Hall Music (Polyvinyl), Loney Dear’s sixth effort, finds the musician inspired in part by outside happenings, in addition to his usual delicate introspections. A series of shows that he performed with orchestras, plus  his own listenings to orchestral music in his own quiet times, helped him reach toward capturing a sound that’s both more complex and more effortless than some of his previous work.

“I was listening to a whole lot of (Estonian classical composer) Arvo Pärt,” Svanängen says, “especially his Los Angeles (Symphony No. 4, 2008) symphony. I realized that while I make ‘collage’ music, it felt really good to listen to music that was simply recorded in a room, without any chance to change or remove something.”

Svanängen says that he finds performing with orchestras to be quite difficult at times – but it’s worth it.

“It’s the sound that brings me closer to it,” he says. “And, actually, the openness of trying different perspectives and ways of working.”

The tonality and ambiance of the album definitely show echoes of the orchestral sounds that he’s been sending to his ears lately. The arrangements are the thing, from the spare atmospherics and vintage organ sounds of opener “Name” to  the doubled hypnotic vocals of “Calm Down”;  from the shallow-cave percussion of “Largo” to the many layers of “Durmoll,” which evokes a busy traffic roundabout on a late afternoon.


Listen to an excerpt of Loney Dear's 'Durmoll'


It’s going to be interesting to see how Loney Dear is going to interpret these songs in a live setting. With as many things going on as there are, it seems that a large band would be needed – but Svanängen remains not only undeterred, but enthused.

“For me, I guess I’ve switched my focus from making an album that I’m completely satisfied with, into making the perfect show, just with songs I really love,” he says. “It’s such a nice way of being creative every night. Those shows will be so amazing.”

The toughest market for Svanängen’s music might be the U.S., a notoriously fickle market for any music that leans more toward the cerebral side. Yet once again, Svanängen is up for the challenge. That is, as long as he’s got his trusty earplugs (“you sleep in weird places sometimes,” he explains), some books to read, a foldable bicycle, and, presumably, that new suitcase to keep everything in.

“I’m starting to love it (touring),” he smiles. “America is huge, but I’m really growing into it. Meeting people, playing music – it’s great.” – Kristi Kates


Find out more about Loney Dear and his music at his official website.